The Florida Panthers recently parted ways with longtime executive Dale Tallon, announcing that they would immediately begin a search for the team’s next general manager. Speculation immediately popped up about Montreal Canadiens AGM Scott Mellanby who captained the Panthers for several seasons. That chatter has been confirmed by Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, who reports that the Panthers received permission from the Canadiens to speak with Mellanby.
The 54-year old executive has been with the Canadiens since 2012, when he left the St. Louis Blues and was hired as a director of player personnel. He was given the AGM title a few years later, and for the last two seasons has also been working with the Laval Rocket.
It is hard to find anyone who has been around more NHL hockey than Mellanby. Starting in 1985-86 with the Philadelphia Flyers, the second-round pick played in 1,431 regular season contests, good for 31st all-time in the NHL. He was never a superstar in the league, but there were decades of good hockey from the winger, who recorded 840 points in those 21 seasons. Florida was his longest stop, suiting up more than 550 times for the Panthers and recording 354 points. He sits fifth on the team’s all-time scoring list, while also coming in third in penalty minutes.
It’s not just his connection to the Panthers organization that would make Mellanby a good fit either. He’s also familiar with head coach Joel Quenneville, who he played under in St. Louis. Even though new general managers often like to go with their own choice behind the bench, whoever takes over in Florida is going to have to work with Quenneville. Not only is he a legendary head coach with an excellent track record, but he was also given a five-year deal in 2019 that will pay him more than $26MM.
The Panthers search will need to be quick if they want someone in place by the offseason. Remember that the draft and free agency will happen almost immediately after the Stanley Cup is awarded in early October, followed by training camps set to begin at some point in November if everything goes to plan.